Summary and Info
I'm a (prose) writer and have read about screenwriting (McKee's Story and Truby's The Anatomy of Story) to gain a different perspective on storytelling. But it wasn't until I read Robert Olen Butler's From Where You Dream (Chapter 4, "Cinema of the Mind"; a comparison of film vs fiction techniques), that I realized how helpful it might be to explore other aspects of filmmaking. And then, on cue, came Karen Pearlman's primer on film editing -- an element so crucial to storytelling that she says, "Editors write the last draft of the script."
To be clear, this is primarily a book for film students or editors early in their careers. Focusing on rhythm to shape a story, she first discards the off-putting adjectives that editing is "intuitive" and "magical." Instead, she opens the process to show a tangible set of tools and skills that can be learned, practiced and internalized -- until they do operate in the subconscious background of seeming intuition. It's textbook-ish -- academic in tone (yet very readable) and content (including exercises and case studies), with end notes, a bibliography, and an index. My only quibble is that some of the case-study photographs are printed so dark they're indecipherable.
Then consider this passage:
"Editors compose rhythms in the sense that someone might compose a flower arrangement: not by making the flowers, or in this case the shots, but by choosing the selections, order, and duration of shots."
It sounds exactly like second-draft prose writing, and confirms a second audience: creatives who would benefit from getting behind the scenes of a less-familiar medium to explore very familiar aspects of storytelling: pace; perspective; distance; tension and release; arcs of action and emotion; scenes of dialogue; multiple storylines; speeding/slowing/collapsing time.
And I suggest even a third audience: highly motivated film buffs -- those who devour the bonus-material commentaries on DVDs -- who will find the material in this book revelatory. Knowing more about film editing and the collaboration inherent in film has already made me a more knowledgeable and appreciative film-goer.
More About the Author
Dr Karen Pearlman is the author of Cutting Rhythms, Shaping the Film Edit (Focal Press, 2009) and its second edition Cutting Rhythms, Intuitive Film Editing (Focal Press, 2016).
Review and Comments
Rate the Book
Cutting Rhythms: Shaping the Film Edit 0 out of 5 stars based on 0 ratings.